What is the best age to start with? Parents are often asking the question when (ie at what age) they can give children a remote-controlled helicopter. I think everyone realizes that this question can not be answered generally, because each child is different in its development. Let's see what a child needs to learn how to fly a RC helicopter and what it has to deal with. An adult should sit down with the child and calmly explain the toy and not only pull the helicopter out of the box, but in the batteries (charging) and then take the first test-flight immediately. So, at first they need the ability to be patient. Maybe they should take a child-friendly book that explains helicopter first. It will take some time until the first exciting adventure flight at home. Then you need a lot of patience with the first flight tests.
Next question that arises is, how far the hand – eye coordination is already developed in the child. It sounds very theoretical, but is more practical … – 🙂 What I mean is the ability of the child to understand how to fly RC helicopter. For example, if a helicopter fly toward you and now moves to the left that you have to move the stick in the opposite direction to the right. But how can you test this? I believe that those who think of a helicopter for their child probably have a remote controlled car already, do not they? Does your child really control that car? How about tasks like parking in a narrow gap or the controlled movement towards you (especially because the movements of the vehicle and stick of the remote control transmitter are the opposite here)?
What are the ages corresponding to the two skills mentioned above? That is difficult to say. But I would say that a child has to be at least 8 or 9 years old. Generally speaking, the older the better.
It is particularly important when you are looking for a helicopter that you choose a model for which you can easily and quickly get spare parts since even more often than a adult a child will have crash landings. It would be a bitty if after only a few minutes of flying the helicopter would have already crashed and be damaged beyond any chance of repair.
Two more tips on this subject. Buy it at the beginning a RC helicopter simulator. You can get it for less than $ 50. The package comes with a software and a transmitter, that connects with the PC via USB. There you can practice flying helicopters and plains. If your child can handle it, has fun and joy keep on and masters simple exercises (eg hovering), then you can be sure that the time has come for a real radio controlled helicopter. By the way: here is an argument for the child if it is not happy with your decision: the real pilot always begin in the simulator too. 🙂
Second, do not make your first flight test in the children or living room. There is just too much stuff in the room, against which the helicopter could crash and take damage of. Best would be of course the backyard outside, but if the helicopter in not longer than 8in, even the smallest hint of wind can adrift the helicopter. But otherwise you will find a garage or gym somewhere where no cars are.
Do not start giving a helicopter as present too early. Because if the child is not capable and does not know how to fly a RC helicopter it will sooner or later loose joy of this fantastic hobby. That would be very pity, would not it?